The rapid pace of technological innovations and their impact on how we – the masses – live our day-to-day lives presently are giving rise to newer socio-economic equations and conditions at a rate that is faster than ever recorded in the history of human evolution before.
In terms of electronics technology and communications, while mankind's journey from telephone to tele-fax took well over seven decades, we moved from the first-generation mainframe computers to personal computers (PCs) in only about two decades.
While the transition from individual PCs to the networked ones took about five short years back in the 1970s and 80s, the pace at which the electronics and communications technologies have been changing, evolving and emerging over the last decade or so is faster than anything ever recorded in the history of human evolution.
The electronic bulletin boards and the radio pagers from the 1980s and 1990s as quick and convenient means of communications are things of the past today. So, for all practical purposes, are even land line phones. All gone.
Gone also are the days when one would have to drive down to a store to buy a product. Gone also are the days when one would have to pick up and sift through a printed catalog, call up a phone number (and wait on hold for any amount of time) before being able to talk to a rep and order a product.
Today is the day and the age of tablets and smartphones. Today is the day and the age of ecommerce and shopping cart software. Today is the day and the age of mcommerce.
But, even that is changing. Changing at a pace faster than ever before. Changing in ways beyond anyone's control. Changing in more ways than most people could ever conceive of. Here is how:
1. Saturated price race will begin
For products that can be easily compared with others without the need for any physical inspection and are easy to ship and distribute, the lowest prices will decide the winners.
Therefore, if you're not Amazon or Alibaba of this world, you better start looking at other options to stay afloat, some of which are covered below.
2. Consumers will go global
Significantly larger numbers of consumers will start buying from foreign country websites, creating a problem for local and domestic merchants. On the other hand, such merchants can potentially start selling overseas themselves.
Thus, ecommerce vendors who can expand their reach beyond the local and domestic boundaries will emerge as big winners.
3. Marketing will get more personalized, driven by big data
An increasing number of ecommerce vendors will start tapping into big data (and other available resources) to deliver a highly personalized shopping experience to visitors. Forbes.com has an interesting and informative article on this.
4. Corporations will get personal too
In keeping with the trend #3 above, corporates will shed their gray suits to mix and socialize with online visitors and customers. Only time will tell how successful they will be at this encroachment upon this turf that has been hitherto reserved largely for the small ecommerce vendors. Nevertheless, small e-tailors would do well to prepare themselves to face this ‘invasion'.
5. Mobile buying and marketing will boom, bloom and mushroom
With ever increasing numbers of people (including shoppers and buyers) accessing the Internet via smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices for various reasons and purposes including making purchases, ecommerce sites will go ‘mobile-friendly' en-mass.
Online stores not capable of operating well on mobile devices will lose visitors, customers and revenues, while the ones that work well with mobiles will thrive and prosper. According to this 2015 ecommerce trends article, mobile online sales will grow up to 25%.
6. Video-based marketing and buying will explode online
As it becomes evident to more and more online stores and vendors that video marketing – the nearest contender to the in-store experience for prospective buyers – leads to much higher conversions, more and more online stores will create and integrate (product) videos on their sites.
7. Ecommerce coding/designing and copywriting will become (strange) bedfellows
More textual content – content that is original and persuades a visitor to become a buyer – on web pages tend to bring more organic (read free) traffic to such pages via the search engines, leading to more sales for ecommerce sites.
Increasing awareness of this marketing advantage will lead more e-stores to incorporate more copy (text) on their site and product pages. Those who do will prosper, those who don't will lose.
8. Multi-dimensional social networking services will grow more popular
Social networking services that allow users to communicate – and share information – using more methods and channels of communication will gain more popularity.
Ecommerce sites having strong presence on such networks will prosper while the other ones will fall behind in terms of business volumes, or stagnate at best.
9. Online storytelling to boost sales will rise
Storytelling has always been a great way of selling. As more ecommerce vendors discover this, more of them will incorporate stories around their products, by way of written text or videos on their online stores.
Those ecommerce sites that recognize and seize the opportunity of digital storytelling will see higher sales graphs while those who don't will be at a loss.
10. Niche based content targeting will gain momentum
As increasing numbers of ecommerce vendors realize that more sales can be achieved by placing content on their site and product pages that appeals to a particular market niche, more of them will start practicing this.
While crystal-ball gazing is best left to the gypsy ladies, every single one of the future trends mentioned above has been based on the findings of sound scientific and market research conducted by reliable sources.
If you are a consumer, in all probability, you will readily identify with at least some of the trends as mentioned above. If you are an ecommerce vendor, you can do yourself a favor by pondering the points covered in this article.